First Timer

On Labor Day I invited my friend to hike at Brooksvale and explained to her the park is Hamden’s “other hiking destination”. (I’m on the right.) It may not be as challenging (most trails are easy or intermediate) or have as many trails as The Giant next door, but you can certainly, 1) enjoy the outdoors, 2) get your heart and lungs pumping and 3) experience less crowds. 3 major goals in my book!

We started our hike by meeting and parking in the large parking lot. We had in hand our new map, masks in case we stopped to chat with folk, *proper footwear, water and a small hand-held *pepper spray and cell phones fully charged. Though many folk hike alone, it’s always best to buddy up. If you hike alone, let someone know where you will be hiking, when you plan on returning and make sure you have that phone with you.

We headed up past the pavilion and followed the GREEN perimeter trail up past the power lines and then back into the forest. We kept going on this trail and at the intersection of the BLUE midline trail we looked at the time and decided we’d hike another part of the GREEN another day. Always look at your time you have available and at the half-way point head back or look at your map and decide which cut through trail (there are a few) you can take to get back to the park proper when you need to.

Also, always remember the park closes at sunset. You do not want to be at the farthest part of any trail, anywhere when sunset descends. In the forest where there is NO ambient light from street lights or homes, it gets dark and disorienting rapidly.

The BLUE connected with the RED and we headed back down into the park. We had to haul ourselves over a few downed trees (they will be dealt with then the town finishes collecting storm debris from neighborhoods) and check the map a few times. We really enjoyed our hike. My friend came away unscathed and I only had one scrape down my shin from an errant branch. Not a bad day.

Along the way I was able to teach my friend about some things in nature such as the cool leaves of the Sassafras tree, galls that insects form on trees, pointed out a mushroom that is never edible and of course, what do do if a black bear decided to greet us. Once this pandemic is over and we can gather normally again, feel free to contact me through this site and I personally do educational programs/walks/hikes for groups (for an honorarium) and FOB in general will offer more hikes/walks for free.

As I told you before all the trails at the park have been recently worked on and re-blazed and the new map is available to download off “Trails” page of this site. Many thanks to the hard work and patience of all those in the past almost 8 years as the plan to do this developed. FOB members, park staff, scouts, trail maintainers like Jess Mallory and lead trail coordinator Steve Updegrove, all worked in conjunction with the town to make this happen.

*NOTES – Proper footwear is important for stability when walking over uneven ground so flip-flops are not recommended. Why leave exposed skin for ticks, bugs, snakes (!) to bite or sticks to poke and scratch? I wear white socks, a hiking shoe/boot and a “sleeve” for a bad ankle to give it extra support. The hand help pepper spray is sold at sporting goods stores and online. It is merely used as a last option deterrent should an animal approach you too close for comfort. Also, it is of no use to you if it is deep in your back pack so use one that is clipped to your belt loop or held in your hand. Please refer to the “Be Bear Aware” page on the State of CT DEEP website for more information.

Feel free to ask me questions or call the park ranger at 203-287-2669 if you have questions. Most of all, get outdoors and play!

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